Reviewed by Debbie Lowndes
We are a regular working class family, my husband works long hours 50+ per week and we have two children aged 13 and 17. We very rarely get the opportunity to stay in a hotel, so we were all so excited about the opportunity to stay at the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum in London. Three members of my family took advantage of the overnight break, my husband, daughter and myself.
My review was for overnight accommodation for a family which included breakfast.
The Holiday Inn is a well-equipped impressive large hotel which is based in Kensington, London. The hotel boosts excellent transport links with Gloucester Road tube station only a two minute walk away. There are also regular bus services into London and the surrounding areas. This venue is an ideal base for exploring London (whether for personal or business purposes), with Heathrow only ten minutes away.
We arrived at 10am, this was a little earlier than the recommended check in time of 2pm. This was not a problem to the hotel and they did everything they could to welcome and accommodate us. When I introduced myself to the receptionist, she welcomed me in a friendly manner and directed me to another member of staff assigned to dealing with my booking.
My first impression was that the hotel staff could not do enough to ensure that all guests needs were attended to. Our rooms and breakfast bookings were confirmed and we were checked in. We took our luggage to the luggage room in preparation for our rooms becoming available. We were asked if we wished to wait for our rooms in the impressive communal seating area located in the hotel grand entrance. We relaxed whilst awaiting our room, it was easy to relax as the seating area was welcoming, attractive, clean and tidy. I popped up to the hotel toilets, which were located on the first floor and clearly signposted. There were plenty of toilet cubicles and the toilet facilities again were very well stocked, well lit with excellent levels of cleanliness.
Upon my return to my family a member of the hotel staff came to advise me that our room should not be much longer. She informed me that there was a business class lounge which we could transfer to whilst we waited for our rooms. She advised that our rooms would be business class and this would provide us with access to the business lounge for the duration of our stay. The business lounge was well equipped with luxurious seating and tasteful décor, large TV screens with access to Sky TV and free wi-fi. Non-alcoholic beverages, such as tea, coffee, coca cola, juice, J20’s etc… were also available throughout the whole day. These were free of charge as the cost for these was inbuilt into the price business class rooms. The business lounge also provided snacks, in the morning, these were fresh fruit, pastries, toast, breakfast type snacks.
At lunchtime the snacks were switched to things like muffins. In the evening between 6pm and 7pm the business lounge offered for free of charge alcoholic beverages and appetizers such as chicken with dips etc… The business lounge was fantastic and we felt thoroughly spoilt!
The hotel employee who was dealing with our booking came and located us to advise that our rooms were now available. At this point she asked if we would like to reserve a table for breakfast and if we would require a late check-out as they could extend the normal check out time by a couple of hours, until 2pm. We took advantage of both of these options. She confirmed where our rooms were located, where we would attend for breakfast and that we had access to the business lounge until our check out time tomorrow. Our luggage could have been taken to our room, but we advised that we would collect this and take it with us. We utilised the lift to travel up to the fifth floor which was where our rooms were located. The lift were clean and freshly smelling, I think there may have been some form of in built air fresheners contained within the lift. There were never any bad odours in or around the lift, which was surprising due to the high volume of traffic using the lifts on a daily basis.
Wow what can I say about our rooms, they were both fantastic! They were spotlessly clean, well maintained and tidy. The décor was contemporary and the bed linen was white and fresh looking, very inviting. The extra little touches within the room were greatly appreciated, they were things such as tags on the pillows detailing which pillows were soft and firm. Plush white robes and slippers located in the wardrobe, these were great for use just after a shower and relaxing after a long day.
Lovely fluffy clean white towels, 2x Bath, 2x hand, plus one bath mat. Scales to keep a check on your weight. Endless supply of toiletries, the standard items such as shampoo, body lotion, shower gel and soap. Plus additional items such as a sewing kit, nail file, shoe shine and shower cap. A calling card was suitably place within the bathroom to advise if required any items such as tooth paste, sanitary items just to call reception and these would be organised. There was even a pull out washing line above the bath. The bathroom had a bath with a shower over, a toilet plus a vanity area complete with mirrors and an inbuilt sink. The floor area was tiled and the lighting was nice a bright.
The room was a good size with an extremely comfy large bed (struggled to get out of it, it was that spacious and relaxing) with white Egyptian cotton sheets and a lovely duvet (not too heavy in weight). The duvet was warm but not too warm and the room temperature was great and adjustable if needed. To either side of the bed were cabinets equipped with a telephone to reception and a blue tooth radio with in-built alarm.
Normal tea and coffee making facilities, sparkly and still water plus snacks (nuts, bar of chocolate and bag of nipples). Large easy chair for relaxing. Desk area with large mirror, rack with the usual literature and price lists for room service. Mini Bar which was well stocked and the price list was clear and reasonably priced. Chest of draws complete with a powerful hair dryer. On top of the draws was a 32” remote controlled flat screen TV. The rooms also had the following items available for use trouser press, iron and ironing board along with a safe. The rooms were short of nothing.
We also had a bottle of wine waiting for us on chill along with a large fresh fruit platter and an accompanying card from the hotel manager wishing us an enjoyable family break. This was great as my husband and I were also celebrating our wedding anniversary as we have been married for 20 years. So this was fabulous.
The room which my daughter had was of the same standard with all of the above apart from the wine. She also had a fresh fruit platter which she loved. She was amazed at her room, it made her feel special. Far from our caravan breaks of the past few years.
We had been in the hotel room for about 15 minutes when the telephone rang. It was reception checking that everything was to our requirements. Once again I felt with was a lovely touch and very professional on their part.
We arrived for our breakfast on the first floor, there was a small queue for breakfast, as it was busy. The staff were attending to the queue and guests well and seating everyone as efficiently as possible. We advised our room number and we were immediately taken to our table and asked if we required tea or coffee and explained how the self-serve worked. The staff did make polite conversation with us and asked how our stay was going and our plans for the day. There was a breakfast menu of all tables, the breakfast was priced at £16.95,I thought this price was reasonable for the area and the huge selection available. The breakfast provided a huge range of choice. You were encouraged by staff to go back for more if required. They regularly checked if tea and coffee refills were required. Expresso coffees were also offered.
The breakfast area was set out very well and easy to move around in order to obtain your food. The décor was of a good standard and once again the room had a relaxing feel, you did not feel rushed at all. There was no pressure for tables.
This was a pub type venue within the hotel, which was open to the general public and serve food as well as beverages. During our stay we took the opportunity to have a couple of drinks and a snack, it would have been rude not too. We were not too hungry so we decided to share some nachos, we all love these. I have to say we were not disappointed, they were reasonable priced and delicious. The service was excellent we did not have to wait to be attended to. I would say it was an average evening in related to guests and business. The décor in this area was of a great standard and portrayed a cosy, relaxing feeling.
Other Facilities on offer:
I did not have time to use the gym as we were busy looking around London and enjoying the other elements of the hotel. However, I did take the opportunity to nosey around the gym. It was not massive in size but it was adequate and served the purpose. There was a good selection of equipment on offer. The opening times were good too.
This was located within an open plan area in the hotel foyer. It was clean, tidy and looked inviting with a reasonably priced menu. The food which was been served also looked to be of a good standard.
We took time to wander in and have a look around, it was well stock and offer a good selection of gifts, once again reasonably priced.
This was located within the open plan foyer area and was your normal standard for Starbucks with standard prices.
This was located within the open plan foray and served alcoholic beverages plus tea and coffee. Once again the prices were not too expensive.
Standard luggage room with a good polite, friendly service.
Secured Car Park
The hotel offered a secured car park and the charge for the day was £33.00, this is not too bad for the area. We did not park our car in the car park we optioned for the road outside the hotel as it is free from 1.30pm on a Saturday. So parking only cost us £9.90.
I would have to rate the hotel 5/5, breakfast experience 5/5, cleanliness and overall service 5/5.
Overall the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum Hotel will be our first choice if we visit London again. First class service and hotel. We will definitely be recommending to our family and friends. We are still on a high from our visit.
We had the most amazing experience at the hotel and we could not have been made to feel any more welcome than we did. A big thank to you to the Holiday Inn and all their staff members.
I would like to mention that my room review has been based on business class standard and not a standard room. I am sure they will be of a great standard though as I could not fault the hotel in any way.
For more information or to make a booking visit www.hikensingtonforumhotel.co.uk or call reservations on 0871 942 9094.
Holiday Inn Kensington Forum, 97 Cromwell Road, London, SW7 4DN | 0871 942 9100